New judge assigned over ‘good cause’ requirement for D.C. carry permits

A new federal judge has been tasked this week with picking up the continuing saga of Washington D.C.’s concealed carry laws, court records show.

While the original case to bring concealed carry to the District, Palmer v. DC, stands and is being hashed out on appeal to higher courts, a follow-on case over the city’s new and draconian may-issue permitting scheme that has declined more permits than it has granted, Wrenn v. DC, was vacated and reassigned from its original judge by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in December over jurisdictional issues.

The Wrenn case was originally that of Judge Frederick J. Scullin, of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York.

Scullin, an appointment of President George H.W. Bush was assigned by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2012 to rehear arguments in another challenge to D.C.’s ban on issuing concealed carry permits – the Palmer case – after the district court judge who originally heard the case, Judge Henry H. Kennedy, retired without issuing a ruling. Although Scullin issued an injunction over D.C.’s good cause requirement in Wrenn, that order was stayed on appeal.

Now a new judge was been assigned to Wrenn, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a 1997 appointment to District Court from President Bill Clinton while she first came to the bench in a 1984 appointment to the D.C. Superior Court by President Ronald Reagan.

Kollar-Kotelly served as the Presiding Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for seven years following the 9/11 terror attacks and got in a very public debate with the Washington Post in 2013 for her role in the court, which included allegations of coordination with the executive branch on cases.

She also gained a fair bit of notoriety for her handling of the Washington Redskins’ trademark.

When it comes to gun litigation, Kollar-Kotelly sided with the Brady Campaign in 2009 and blocked a rule change from the President George W. Bush administration to allow visitors to national parks to carry concealed weapons, citing environmental impacts of the change. In the end, the law took effect the following year.